At the request of Republicans, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday postponed a vote on the politically divisive nomination of Goodwin Liu to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel endorsed another long-stalled judicial nominee.
President Barack Obama first tapped Liu for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judgeship in February 2010 and again in September 2010 and January. The Senate sent his nomination back to the White House twice because it did not hold confirmation votes on him before adjournment.
The panel voted 10-8 along party lines to report U.S. District Court nominee Edward Chen for the Northern District of California out of committee. Obama first nominated Chen in August 2009 to succeed Martin J. Jenkins, who resigned, and again in January 2010, September and January. The Senate sent his nomination back to the White House three times because it again did not hold confirmation votes on him before adjourning.
Republicans have expressed concerns about Chen’s time as an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer from 1985 to 2001. He has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the San Francisco-based Northern District of California since 2001.
Senate Republicans have held up Liu’s nomination over concerns that he would move the San Francisco-based 9th circuit, widely regarded as the most liberal of the federal circuits, further to the left.
They took issue with highly critical remarks Liu made about Samuel Alito during Alito’s Supreme Court nomination hearing in 2006. Liu later apologized for the comments. He said in a hearing this month that his remarks were “unduly harsh.”
At the request of Republicans, the panel also held over U.S. District Court nominees John J. McConnell for Rhode Island, Kevin Sharp for the Middle District of Tennessee, Roy Dalton Jr. for the Middle District of Florida and Claire C. Cecchi for New Jersey.
The president renominated McConnell on Jan. 5 to succeed Ernest C. Torres, who retired. He was first nominated in March 2010 and again in September, but the Senate didn’t hold confirmation votes on him before adjourning. McConnell is the managing partner of the Providence, R.I., law office of Motley Rice LLC.
Obama renominated Sharp on Jan. 5 to succeed Robert L. Echols, who retired. He was first nominated in November, but the Senate didn’t hold a confirmation vote on him before the 111th Congress ended. Sharp is a partner in the law firm of Drescher & Sharp P.C. in Nashville.
The president renominated Dalton on Jan. 5 to succeed Henry Lee Adams Jr., who retired. He was first nominated in November, but the Senate didn’t hold a confirmation vote on him before it left town in December. Dalton is a partner in the law firm of Dalton & Carpenter P.A. in Orlando and of counsel in the Carlyle Appellate Law Firm in The Villages, Fla.
Obama renominated Cecchi on Jan. 5 to succeed Joseph A. Greenaway, who was elevated to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She was first nominated in December, but the Senate didn’t hold a confirmation vote. Cecchi is a U.S. Magistrate Judge in New Jersey.